Top critical review
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One to avoid.
on 5 May 2013
This book is utterly awful, on so many levels that it's actually quite difficult to know where to begin. There is an complete lack of any kind of characterization, with all the main characters, both human and alien, being so essentially identical that it is easy to lose track of who is speaking at any one time. Fortunately, the plot is so shallow that this really doesn't matter. The technology doesn't add up, for example a self aware planetary super computer so sophisticated that it can not only ignore the rules of physics but also keep itself repaired and fully operational for millenia is totally flummoxed by someone taking a blow torch to a single boxful of wiring. Humanity is treated as being homogenous in a way which is not only unrealistic but actually, in parts, borderline racist.
And so it goes on. In a way, it is almost impressive, a kind of fractal awfulness that just keeps growing the more closely you look at it. Ultimately, however, even this wasn't enough to wring any really strong emotional response from me and, in the end, the book just left me felling a little bit sad, as if the last 50 years of progress in the field of science fiction had never happened.
If you want to read pulp, go and read some Burroughs or Howard or even, God help us, E. E. Smith. They did it much more engagingly and at least had the defense of not knowing any better.